COVID Testing Upate

From Newton Public Schools:

Dear NPS Families,

We continued implementation of the weekly COVID testing program this week, prioritizing those schools that were missed last week. Testing went more smoothly, with increased staffing and adjustments to our testing protocols.

As CIC Health continues to recruit and train the staff necessary to conduct weekly testing in all of our schools, we will continue with our phased-in approach to weekly testing. We believe this is the best approach so as not to compromise our ability to effectively implement our Test and Stay testing program, which is vital to minimizing interruptions to student learning.

Therefore, for the week of October 4th, we will test students and staff in 13 buildings (9 elementary schools, 4 middle schools – only 6th grade) to ensure available staffing resources match the needs of each building. The schedule for the week of October 4th is linked here: CIC Public Testing Schedule and is also shown below. We anticipate the schedule will shift from week to week until the staffing challenges are resolved.

Until we feel confident in CIC Health’s ability to scale the weekly testing operation with adequate staffing, the weekly testing program for grades 7-12+ will remain on hold. However, the symptomatic and Test and Stay testing continues to be available as appropriate.

As communicated in the district newsletter on Wednesday, we did make some changes to the testing procedures. For reference, those changes are listed below.

Testing Procedure Changes:

  • Aligned the CIC Health staff training process with Newton health and safety practices.
  • Standardized the testing process across schools.
  • Consulted with CIC Health and the Broad Institute to modify the testing protocol to utilize a nose wipe instead of a nose blow.
  • Switched to a single nasal swab collection to improve efficiency on testing day. Positive pool results will be followed up with a rapid antigen test at school.
  • Conferred with our Medical Advisory Group to obtain approval of our testing procedures in school buildings.
  • Adjusted and refined clerical procedures to ensure accuracy in student testing rosters.

Testing will take place on Friday at Bigelow (6th grade only).